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Former firefighters speak out against Osceola Town Council

OSCEOLA, Ind. -- Osceola town officials remain tight-lipped about why four of the town's firefighters were suddenly fired.

After ABC57's Daryl Bjoraas confronted them today, they sent an email hours later saying those four men voluntarily resigned.

So we reached out to see if it was true.

"We instructed that if we did not sign that, that they would have a board meeting, and recommend we be terminated," Ryan Deal, former Chief of the Osceola Fire Department, said.

Town officials said they wanted a change; that meant -- eliminating some of the station's most experienced volunteers.

"We counted up hours as far as training goes with the four officers that were let go, and the four officers had a little bit over 315 hours of training combined," Justin Barber, Former Lieutenant of Osceola Fire Department, said. "The rest of the department had a little over 500 hours."

"Getting rid of volunteers with an all volunteer department does the volunteer department no good," Chris Boling, Former Assistant Chief of Osceola Fire Department, said. "What are they going to pay somebody now?"

Of the 12 firefighters remaining, five are not trained as EMTs, which could leave residents in need of emergency medical help in trouble.

"These are simple certifications that help save lives," Les Cornelison, Osceola's former Fire Chief from 2007, said.

He headed the department before fired Ryan Deal took over.

He said problems with broken equipment and ill-equipped volunteers has been an ongoing issue for years.

He quit the department because town officials made improvements and progress nearly impossible.

"The payment is nothing. They don't want the money," Cornelison said. "They just want to be able to do their job, and go home at night. And this town board, they don't understand that."

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